Seven years ago, my renovation strategy started to change. It all began with the first historic home project I did in the Phoenix Fairview Place Historic District. This project helped me find my passion for historic homes and small spaces. I learned a ton of lessons I’ve taken with me since then.
If you’re thinking about revamping your home or want advice for flipping a house, take these nuggets of wisdom from me. They’ll help you cut costs and add value to a home. Plus, they make a space more functional and a whole lot more appealing.
1. Repurpose Materials
If you’re getting rid of materials from one part of a house, think about how they might work somewhere else.
For example, to save money when I was renovating this historic home, I moved the cabinets from the main house into the guest house and used the leftover countertop remnants, as well. These were only small pieces, but they worked for a secondary space like this.
You can really get creative during the renovation process. Some ideas:
Also, carefully think about elements in a room that could still work or be improved with a simple upgrade. For example, I kept the industrial concrete floors in the guest house, because they have benefits like:
Moving home elements from one room to another, or transforming them for a whole new function, is an easy way to elevate a space without having to spend on new materials.
2. Think Functionality
A huge way to add value to a home is to make it more functional. Especially with historic and older homes, the way they were designed back then doesn’t always fit how we live today.
With this guest house, I moved the center door over to the left to make the kitchen more functional. That door on the right? That became a window.
These simple tweaks made a big impact, creating a seamless flow in the kitchen, providing more space for a sink and countertops, and letting in a whole lot more light.
Wondering how to make a home more functional as you renovate? Here are some tips.
In kitchens, you can add a kitchen island or add cabinetry to an existing kitchen island. Floor-to-ceiling cabinets are a great way to make space more functional, too.
3. Retain a Home’s Charm
Here’s a tip you might not expect from me, a Phoenix real estate agent: don’t always listen to real estate agents.
With this house, the agent I was working with said, “New windows sell houses.” So, I replaced all the windows.
At the time, I didn’t understand the value of architecture. Now, I realize replacing the windows was a mistake. The original windows had given the home a lot of character. Retaining them could have also saved a lot of money.
Always respect the home and keep its true charm intact. Many homebuyers will pay for features with a vintage look or real vintage touches.
Some older home features you should consider keeping include:
And, finally, windows! You can give older windows a makeover by adding exterior shutters, installing indoor window treatments, upgrading the landscaping around the windows or adding flower boxes underneath them. If the windows are old or damaged, repairing them to good-as-new condition can also be a lot less expensive than replacing them altogether.
Before You Replace: Repurpose, Restore & RepairYou don’t have to give a home a complete makeover to upgrade it. To save money and add value during a home flip or remodel:
Want to see more examples of how I took those lessons from my first home renovation into future ones? Check out some of my recent home renovation projects, where you can shop the same items I used in designing the homes.